Prince of Persia

7 02 2009

First off the most obvious statement…Prince of Persia is absolutely beautiful. I’m a huge fan of the cell shaded look and the use of texture really adds something extra. Art direction in general is phenomenal on top of this with varied unique environments that will cause you to pause and look around. Top the art off with the fact that the artists had to texture every object twice for dark/light versions and these guys deserve a raise.

All of this great art is backed by some great animation and generally good AI. I was really impressed by all the little animations for when Eleka passes the Prince platforming. Combat is fairly simple like Sands of Time but really great to look at. To offer forced variety enemies will somtimes wrap themselves in a certain aura that is only susceptible to a certain task. It ends up backfiring a bit preventing the Prince’s combos and engaging you in a lot of God of War style button mashes.

Prince of Persia is foremost a platformer which it exceeds at extraordinarily. The core platforming mechanics are simple but work really well. Level design is even better which is the where most platform games fail. Movement is swift and continuous made even cooler by crazy power nodes that cause the Prince to sprint up vertical walls and fly through the air. It really has to be seen and played to truly appreciate.

Unfortunately Prince of Persia suffers from the same problem it’s brother, Assassins Creed, does in that there is no variety. The game is open world style and every single mission follows a go to new zone, hey the darkness is corrupting this area, go to fertile ground area, defeat a miniboss, light cleanses the land Okami style, go to next zone. It’s obviously extremely repetitive and I had to take a break a few times. Although there is a ton of dialogue, well acted mind you, there is virtually no story. About as stereotypical video game story you can get. Writing related to story elements is pretty cringe worthy. The chatter between Eleka and the Prince can be clever at times but there just isn’t enough narrative. A gameplay section after the end credits is the only decent narrative section.

Overall Prince of Persia is great for its fluid movement, forgiving controls, and tasty graphics. A lack of any form of a strong narrative coupled with a repetivive setup really hinder Prince of Persia from being an instant classic. At times it feels like playing the same game fifteen separate times with an end boss for the sixteenth. However, it’s not to difficult to look past these faults and remind yourself how much fun platforming can be when done right.

score: 85% | metacritic: 81

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